We are in the dog days of summer. Teenagers are back on their way to schools and business is picking up as people return from their annual holiday trips. On the political side, Biden's softening numbers are quite visible as expected and the 2022 midterms loom large. The historical averages alone are enough to suggest that Biden and the Dems will lose both the House and the Senate.
We typically look at public opinion from the perspective of adults or those Americans who are aged 18 or above. Let's shift the focus today and instead spend some time looking at how American teenagers (14-18) feel about the present state of affairs of the nation. These are the next Gen Z and their opinion and perspective of the world will be inevitably shaped by the pandemic and our bitter political divisions.
We take data from the Washington Post/Ipsos polling to do this and detail the most telling data points below:
1. Childhood Lost: Teens of today are less bullish about their future than the teens of yesterday as the percentage of teens confident that the country's best years are still ahead of us has declined from 54% to 43% between 2005 and 2021.
2. Pandemic Rules: Teens openly acknowledge the effect of the pandemic on their schooling as a whopping 49% say that their academics suffered due to the pandemic. Another 45% say that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health, while 40% say that the pandemic has negatively affected their relationship with friends. It's too early to say what will be the long-term effect of the pandemic as the cost to the collective experience is insurmountable and unquantifiable.
3. Divided We Are: The American teens feel the political chaos, as well as a whopping 59%, cite political divisions as the biggest threat to their generation. Political divisions are identified as the top-most threat to their generation by teens. Gun violence, cost of health care, racial discrimination, and terrorism are other major threats identified by teens.
4. Apathy and Division: Biden as expected wins this match up among teens although not by huge margins. 34% of American teens say that Joe Biden did a good job as a president as compared to 31% who feel the same way about Donald Trump. While 28% disapprove of Joe Biden as compared to 49% who say that Donald Trump did a bad job as a president.
Data shows that cynicism is creeping into younger generations in America and affecting their opinion about America's place in the world and their own prospects for success. The pandemic of course has been responsible for much of this cynicism, but a similar amount of blame can be attributed to political divisions and the dysfunctional political system that has impacted the perspective and opinion of American teens.
Cliff’s Take: Are the Kids Alright?
Political divisions are biggest generational threat to American teens
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